I phoned A. because I wanted to make sure he would come. Possibly, someone else could do that by manipulation, but I do not have the skills, so I said so straight out. “That’s so sweet!” he said, sincerely. One other had been going to come, but by mistake came yesterday. Two others might have come but did not.
We met in the Great Court of the British Museum. I had remembered it as mindblowing, and am slightly disappointed: the Reading room at the centre is larger than I recall, it feels less spacious, and of course it is crowded. East Asian tourists blocked the main entrance, taking photographs. He buys me a cup of tea, and I sit glancing off to see if anyone else is coming. He resists the phone-addict in him wanting to check the football results: Watford has been playing badly, on its fifth manager of the season.
That is the way into sharing. He explains why Watford have had so many managers, then shows this amazing video. He can get it out for delight at any time. Not being a fan, I am still amazed by it.
He has been a fan since childhood, when there was a lot of hooliganism, and Watford was one of the first teams to have a family enclosure. He has seen some unpleasantness, such as when a man in front of him was wildly abusing the team and the ref, and ill-advisedly he suggested to him, “Why don’t you just enjoy the game?” He leaves the rest to my imagination.
We wander into the galleries, and find Buddhist and Hindu statues from around 500-1000 CE. Buddhism is supposed to be peaceful, but one figure has two tiny Hindu gods, supine, one covered by each foot. I begin to pick up some of the iconography: many have tiny worshippers kneeling at their feet. We wonder at them being mixed, Buddhist and Hindu together in one row. They interest me but do not move me until this one.
“The [missing] crown, jewellery and dress suggest it is a Bodhisattva.” Either the academic opinion is more important, or there was no-one local to ask. It is a poor photograph, with the reflections on the glass, and the lights, but I love her assertive pose. It is my thing. I grow less ashamed of that, but cannot answer when he asks what grabs me about her.
We walk to Euston station where we have coffee and share more deeply. I tell him a little of my feelings around transition. “I am confused, I thought you said you wanted a relationship with a woman”. There is a simple explanation: at the time, I had bought into the lie that only androphile trans women are really TS, and the script that one must pretend to be one: but I do not give it.
Train home. The taxi goes fast, but the driver corners so skilfully that it is comfortable. I tell him so.